Monday, June 19, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/18/17: Writing and Breakfast, Mom's Rough Day, Mom's Revival

1. My body is in Kellogg, but its system is on Eastern Standard Time, so I was up at 5:30 this morning, welcomed by a cool, quiet Kellogg morning. I spent quite a bit of time this morning writing in this blog, trying to honestly and accurately document what I am seeing as Mom's condition continues to decline. At around 8 o'clock, I strolled down to Sam's Restaurant with some sections of the Spokesman Review in hand and enjoyed a huge breakfast of fat link sausages, hash browns, eggs, and English muffin.

It turns out it was good I had started the day with a hearty breakfast.

2. Mom had had a difficult night. When I arrived to at about 9:00, she was in a hospital gown, not the pajamas she'd gone to bed wearing, and her sheets were changed. Mom thought she'd been to the dining room for breakfast, but it turns out she hadn't. I don't know if she ate some breakfast in her room.

I stayed with Mom for a couple of hours. A nurse came in and helped her get to the bathroom. Mom couldn't raise herself to a sitting position nor could she stand up on her own to use her walker.

She spent much of the ensuing time in what looked to me like restless sleep. Her hands and arms are beginning to twitch involuntarily and she is beginning to touch herself on the neck and torso and sometimes holds her hands up as if she's trying to read something and other times she mimes drinking water or eating.  She was often talking in this state of restless sleep and I could rarely tell what she was saying.

Christy arrived around 10:30 and a staff member came in to comfort Mom and talk with her about getting dressed. Mom kept saying, "Give me ten more minutes" or "Give me two more minutes."  The staff person worked with this and I could see that soon she would dress Mom and I excused myself to go do some grocery shopping, wash some laundry for Mom at her house, and take care of some personal business, including a phone call to the Deke.

I returned to Kindred around 1:30 and Mom was dressed.

A very rough afternoon got underway.

Mom's mouth turned downward into a deep frown, her cheeks looked hollow, and the twitching and touching her upper body increased.  She clawed the oxygen tube out of her nose several times and pushed my hands away when I tried to put it back in -- I buzzed for assistance and a staff member was much better than I at putting it back in.

Mom continued to speak incoherently in a weak, hoarse voice and sometimes she'd begin counting -- "one, two, three, four" up to twelve or so and then she'd count by tens -- "ten, twenty, thirty" up to like eighty.

At one point, Christy returned to her house to see Everett and to get ready for a family dinner planned at 4:00 at Carol and Paul's. When Carol texted to say Paul would come by Kindred at 3:30 to transport Mom, I returned a message saying I doubted Mom could go and suggested Carol come and see Mom now.

For all of us, seeing Mom's condition worsen so much this afternoon was grievous. Carol hadn't seen Mom since Saturday and it had been a day or two for Paul. They were shaken. Mom was the most frail and vulnerable we'd ever seen her.

3.  Then things changed.

I stayed with Mom while the others ate dinner at Carol and Paul's.

Mom told me she was hot and I buzzed for help, suggesting to a staff member that Mom would like to get out of her shirt and pants and changed into a hospital gown. A couple of staff members changed Mom and helped her get situated again in her bed.

Almost miraculously, with the change of clothes, Mom was awake, alert, conversational. It was as if the morning and afternoon of what I thought was restless sleep had restored her. I texted Christy and Carol and told them that Mom had perked up, that she and I were talking.

Granted, Mom is experiencing vascular dementia, so our conversations involved talking about things that had happened and things that Mom imagined. Mom is confused. She often thinks she is in her house across the street and so, for example, she asked me to go to the kitchen and get her some bread and she wanted some salsa. She thought salsa would taste good.  She didn't always know who I was and asked me what my brother's name is.

But, sense or nonsense, it was a great relief to see Mom emerge from the semi-conscious state she'd been in earlier and to sit up a little better and be back with us.

Christy returned with Everett and I went back to Mom's house to finish the laundry and to wait for a plate of dinner, delivered by Molly, Zoe, and Cosette. I talked some more with the Deke.

I returned to see Mom. Christy and Carol were there. Mom's revival continued. In fact, she asked for a plate of the Father's Day dinner and Carol called over to her house and soon Molly brought Mom the food and Mom ate a bit, said she wanted a break, but said she'd eat more in a few minutes.

At this point, still adjusting to Pacific Standard Time -- it was getting to be about 10:30 or so for my system -- I excused myself, returned to Mom's house, and soon went to bed.

I haven't told the whole Sunday story here. I might have mixed up some chronology. But what I've written is close to accurate.  If I need to correct anything, or if Christy or Carol would like me to add anything for the record, I will come back and do so.

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